As a powerful candidate for a lithography technique that can accommodate the scaling-down of semiconductors, 193-nm immersion lithography-which realizes a high numerical aperture (NA) and uses deionized water as the medium between the lens and wafer in the exposure system-has been developing at a rapid pace and has reached the stage of practical application. In regards to defects that are a cause for concern in the case of 193-nm immersion lithography, however, many components are still unclear and many problems remain to be solved. It has been pointed out, for example, that in the case of 193-nm immersion lithography, immersion of the resist film in deionized water during exposure causes infiltration of moisture into the resist film, internal components of the resist dissolve into the deionized water, and residual water generated during exposure affects post-processing. Moreover, to prevent this influence of directly immersing the resist in de-ionized water, application of a protective film is regarded as effective. However, even if such a film is applied, it is still highly likely that the above-mentioned defects will still occur. Accordingly, to reduce these defects, it is essential to identify the typical defects occurring in 193-nm immersion lithography and to understand the condition for generation of defects by using some kinds of protective films and resist materials. Furthermore, from now onwards, with further scaling down of semiconductors, it is important to maintain a clear understanding of the relation between defect-generation conditions and critical dimensions (CD). Aiming to extract typical defects occurring in 193-nm immersion lithography, the authors carried out a comparative study with dry exposure lithography, thereby confirming several typical defects associated with immersion lithography. We then investigated the conditions for generation of defects in the case of some kinds of protective films. In addition to that, by investigating the defect-generation conditions and comparing the classification data between wet and dry exposure, we were able to determine the origin of each particular defect involved in immersion lithography. Furthermore, the comparison of CD for wet and dry processing could indicate the future defectivity levels to be expected with shrinking immersion process critical dimensions.